[council] Call for Volunteers: 'thick' Whois Policy Development Process (PDP) Working Group Members
Glen de Saint Géry
Glen at icann.org
Thu Oct 25 06:31:20 UTC 2012
Date: 23 October 2012
The Generic Names Supporting Organization (GNSO) Council seeks volunteers to
serve on a Policy Development Process (PDP) Working Group (WG) that has been
chartered to provide the GNSO Council with a policy recommendation regarding
the use of 'thick' Whois by all gTLD Registries, both existing and future.
What This Group Will Do
As part of its deliberations on this issue, the PDP WG is expected, at a
minimum, to consider the following elements as detailed in the
'thick' Whois Final Issue Report:
* Response consistency: a 'thick' Registry can dictate the labeling
and display of Whois information to be sure the information is easy to
parse, and all Registrars/clients would have to display it accordingly. This
could be considered a benefit but also a potential cost. This might also be
a benefit in the context of internationalized registration data as even with
the use of different scripts, uniform data collection and display standards
could be applied.
* Stability: in the event of a Registrar business or technical
failure, it could be beneficial to ICANN and registrants to have the full
set of domain registration contact data stored by four organizations (the
Registry, the Registry's escrow agent, the Registrar, and the Registrar's
escrow agent), which would be the case in a 'thick' registry.
* Accessibility: is the provision of Whois information at the registry
level under the 'thick' Whois model more effective and cost-effective than a
'thin' model in protecting consumers and users of Whois data and
intellectual property owners?
* Impact on privacy and data protection: how would 'thick' Whois
affect privacy and data protection, also taking into account the involvement
of different jurisdictions with different laws and legislation with regard
to data privacy as well as possible cross border transfers of registrant
* Cost implications: what are the cost implications of a transition to
'thick' Whois for Registries, Registrars, registrants and other parties for
all gTLDs? Conversely, what are the cost implications to Registries,
Registrars, registrants and other parties if no transition is mandated?
* Synchronization/migration: what would be the impact on the registry
and registrar WHOIS and EPP systems for those Registries currently operating
a thin registry, both in the migration phase to 'thick' WHOIS as well as
* Authoritativeness: what are the implications of a 'thin' Registry
possibly becoming authoritative for registrant Whois data following the
transition from a thin-registry model to a thick-registry model. The Working
Group should consider the term "authoritative" in both the technical (the
repository of the authoritative data) and policy (who has authority over the
data) meanings of the word when considering this issue.
* Competition in registry services: what would be the impact on
competition in registry services should all Registries be required to
provide Whois service using the 'thick' Whois model would there be more,
less or no difference with regard to competition in registry services?
* Existing Whois Applications: What, if anything, are the potential
impacts on the providers of third-party WHOIS-related applications if
'thick' WHOIS is required for all gtLDs?
* Data escrow: 'thick' Whois might obviate the need for the registrar
escrow program and attendant expenses to ICANN and registrars.
* Registrar Port 43 Whois requirements: 'thick' Whois could make the
requirement for Registrars to maintain Port 43 Whois access redundant.
For further details and requirements, see the
<https://community.icann.org/x/H4EoAg> WG Charter.
How This Group Will Work
ICANN Working Groups use transparent, open processes. WGs typically meet
once a week by telephone for a minimum of one hour. The meetings of the WG
will be recorded, and the recordings will be available to the public. The
mailing list for the 'thick' Whois PDP WG will be archived publicly. Working
Group members are expected to submit Statements of Interest (SOI). The group
will collaborate using a public workspace. The WG is expected to follow the
GNSO Working Group Guidelines. In addition, the WG is expected to follow the
procedures outlined in the
<http://gnso.icann.org/council/annex-2-pdp-manual-16dec11-en.pdf> GNSO PDP
How to Join
The Council invites interested parties to provide names of expected
participants who can then be added to the WG mailing list. The GNSO Council
may also invite stakeholders and experts to join. Community members who wish
to be invited to join the group should contact the
<mailto:gnso.secretariat at icann.org?subject=Application%20to%20Join%20%27thic
k%27%20Whois%20PDP%20Working%20Group> GNSO secretariat (
<mailto:gnso.secretariat at icann.org> gnso.secretariat at icann.org).
ICANN specifies Whois service requirements through Registry Agreements (RAs)
and the Registrar Accreditation Agreement (RAA) for the generic top-level
domain (gTLD) registries.
Registries have historically satisfied their Whois obligations under two
different models. The two models are often characterized as "thin" and
"thick" Whois registries. This distinction is based on how two distinct sets
of data are maintained.
WHOIS contains two kinds of data about a domain name; one set of data is
associated with the domain name (this information includes data sufficient
to identify the sponsoring registrar, status of the registration, creation
and expiration dates for each registration, name server data, the last time
the record was updated in the Registry database, and the URL for the
registrar's Whois service), and a second set of data that is associated with
the registrant of the domain name.
In a thin registration model the Registry only collects the information
associated with the domain name from the Registrar. The Registry in turn
publishes that information along with maintaining certain status information
at the Registry level. Registrars maintain data associated with the
registrant of the domain and provide it via their own Whois services, as
required by Section 3.3 of the RAA for those domains they sponsor.
In a thick registration model the Registry collects both sets of data
(domain name and registrant) from the Registrar and in turn publishes that
data via Whois.
As recommended by the Inter-Registrar Transfer Policy (IRTP) Part B Working
Group, the GNSO Council asked ICANN staff to prepare an Issue Report on the
requirement of "thick" Whois for all gTLDs. The Council requested that the
Issue Report and possible subsequent Policy Development Process consider a
possible requirement of "thick" Whois for all gTLDs in the context of IRTP
and also consider any positive and/or negative effects likely to occur
outside of IRTP that should be taken into account when deciding whether to
require "thick" Whois for all incumbent gTLDs. ICANN staff submitted
the Final Issue Report to the GNSO Council for consideration on 2 February
At its meeting in Costa Rica last March, the GNSO Council initiated a Policy
Development Process on "thick" Whois. However, considering the workload of
the GNSO community, the GNSO Council on 12 April resolved to delay the
formation of a drafting team to develop a charter until December 2012. The
Council reconsidered that decision at its meeting in Prague in June 2012,
and decided to move forward with the PDP. A drafting team was formed to
develop a charter which was adopted by the GNSO Council at its meeting on 17
Glen de Saint Géry
gnso.secretariat at gnso.icann.org
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